EducationalTheory and Practice
Therehave been criticisms on the current educational methods and theories.As a result, various scholars and theorists have come up withsuggestions on the need for different approach in educational methodsand theories. Paulo Freire and Herbert Kohl are famous educationaltheorists with their discussions being based on different butinterrelated problems in the matters of education. Both theoristshave come up with suggestions on alternative educational methods andtheories. Basing on these educational theorists suggestions, thispaper analyses a course I undertook in high school and an evaluationof the educational theories underwriting it.
Duringmy high school experience, the administration had made it compulsoryto study geography irrespective of your future career interests andaspirations. I personally did not like that fact because I had noaspirations in studying about geography in the future and still, themethod of approach to the subject by our teacher was not the best.The teacher would come to class and dictate ten folds of pages on theclaim that geography is a wide subject and we had to finish thesyllabus before undertaking our final exam. This only turned us, asthe students, to listening objects while the teacher remained thenarrator. The teacher’s role was to present the contents of thesubject as though they were motionless and predictable. He presentedthe topics which were completely foreign to the experience we had. Hewas expected to fill the students with contents from his narration.The blame does not fall on him, but on the educational practice ofthe time which required him to do that. In his book, Freire claimsthat the educational system requires the teacher to fill the studentswith his contents of narration which are far from reality andcompletely disconnected from the totality that instigate them and isof significance to them (Paulo, 240).
Asa result of these experiences and expectations of the educationsystem, we were left with the option of mastering the science ofmemory. This helped us in gaining the ability to recall thesenarrations taught to us as the best way to succeed in our high schooleducation. The constant memorization of the notes, outlines and thenarrated concepts to result to the A students the administrationexpected. The educators and we the students did not understand theharm and ineffectiveness of this education system. The system turnedus into containers which the teacher looked forward to fill asdictated by the education system. According to the education system,the teacher’s success was measured by his ability to completelyfill the students with his narrations. Students’ success on theother hand, was measured from their ability to allow themselves to befilled with the narrations.
Theeducational theory underwriting the learning of such subjects asdictated by the school administration is observational learning (thesocial learning) theory. According to the theory, the behavior of thestudent changes in line with observations from a behavioral model.The students’ behavior is in turn affected negatively or positivelyby the consequences which are either vicarious punishment orreinforcement as displayed by the behavior of the model. According tomy experience, the fact that study of geography was not out of my ownchoice but forced by the administration was a case of vicariouspunishment. I did not have any future aspirations or career choicethat was in line with geography. I felt like the administration waspunishing me by forcing me to study the same.
Thestudy of geography was not a good experience during my study at highschool. The mode of teaching by the teacher was itself notencouraging to me in any way that could help me develop a positiveattitude towards the course. It is very important for the schooladministration to understand that education process should be agreedon about what to be taught and how to be taught for the educationalprocess to be successful (Herbert, 50). The fact that I was forced tostudy geography coupled by the mode of approach by the teacher feltlike a sort of punishment. I did not find anything interesting in thestudy of the course and the whole process felt like a waste of timeand resources for me.
Theadministration in its decision to make geography a compulsory coursefor all students was a big mistake. In their decision, they hadoverlooked a very critical idea in the educational program which isthe fact that teaching does not automatically result in learning. Itwas a must for me to study geography but I can say that after I hadcompleted my course in high school, I had not learned geography. Inas much as teachers can teach, students can only turn the teaching tolearning if they deem it necessary to do so (Herbert, 148). In mycase, study of geography was not near my study choices and thereforeI did not find any good reasons to learn it. Instead it felt likewhat Freire advocates to be the current state of education systemthat is the banking concept of education. He stipulated thateducation had developed into a system of depositing, with theteachers being the depositors and the students, depositories. Ratherthan passing communication, the teacher issues official announcementsand as a result deposits the issues to the student who is in turnexpected to receive patiently, memorize and keep repeating theconcepts so that they can apply them and pass in their exams. This iswhat is compared to the banking concept in which, the concepts ofeducation allowed to the students extends to receiving, filing, andstoring deposits (Paulo, 242).
Atthe end of every week or month, the teacher would come up with awritten assignment for us to undertake. Not at any point did theteacher engage us or our thoughts in the making of such decisions.The teacher too seemed to have barely any time to answer any of thequestions posed to him. If at all he did spare some time forquestions, he would only use the textbook to help answer thequestions. This would only be a repeat of the earlier explanationwhich was not clear and thus leaving the questions unanswered. Thereexisted a distance between us the students and our teacher making ithard for a suggestion to a different reproach in the study. The blamefalls entirely on the existing practice of education and theoriessurrounding education.
Theeducational theories and practice are a failure. The fact that theadministration forced a study of certain course without the consentof the students was not of any help to the students. The studentsshould be given an opportunity to make choices on what they wouldwant to learn or otherwise it will end up being just mere teachingand not learning. The moderators in education as well should come upwith teaching strategies that will benefit both the students and theteachers. My situation of being forced to study a course in geographywas not of any help to me in my future career aspirations. Besidesthat, the teaching method was not one of the best and thusdemotivating me further in the slightest interest developed for thestudy of geography.
Thecurrent state of educational practice and theories is not the bestthat there can be in our education system. The method used byteachers to impart knowledge to the students is wanting. The theoriesand concepts surrounding the mode of teaching should therefore bereviewed. Again, some schools policies on the choice of subjects andcourses of study should be more accommodative. The administrationshould have a policy which not only is for the best of the school butalso for the students. The students should be allowed to make choicesthat are in line with their interests and future aspirations. This iswhat motivated theorists in the like of Freire and Herbert to come upwith suggestions on the need to change the education system. Althoughtheir approaches differed, it was all aimed at changing theeducational concepts and theories for the best of the teachers andstudents as well.
Herbert,Kohl. Iwon’t learn from you: And other thoughts on creative maladjustment.NewYork: The New Press. 1995. Print
Paulo,Freire. “The “banking” concept of education”. Waysof reading. Boston:Bedford-St. Martins. 2000. Print